Fact: I think Disney World actually is the Happiest Place on Earth.
This belief began the usual way - the fairy tales. For me it was Sleeping Beauty. I just loved Prince Phillip. I can quote the entire scene when she first meets him. And because of her (and the fact that I didn't have the whole spinning wheel concern) Sixteen was my favorite birthday ever.
My faith in it grew a lot the year that Mom and Dad visited and told us about the construction workers working behind tarps during the day, and landscapers adding new trees and beautiful scenery - only under the veil of nighttime - all so as not to disrupt the magic.
I went there on my honeymoon. One morning I couldn't find my spoon for the Fruit Loops in the mini bar. I called housekeeping, and a man arrived at the door soon in a tux holding a golden spoon. We failed to take many pictures since we were kind of busy actually experiencing the fun, and I forgot our souvenir photo (in front of the Castle) in the hotel room, so the entire week remains as a fuzzy, first week of marriage sort of memory. Which added to the magic for me.
Then in 2005 I was diagnosed with cancer, while pregnant. Which, as you can imagine was fear and trauma galore. Two days after my final radiation treatment we drove to Florida with Michael's family, and we went to Disney one day. We stayed for the fireworks show at the end of the night, and the feeling of Magic was forever sealed for me. It's a gorgeous show, unbelievable really, with the fireworks bursting in sync to this gorgeous music about dreams coming true and wishes and love and friendship and overcoming evil.
The thing is, the faith I believe in is sort of fairy tale-like. First, the hero created people both to enjoy his remarkable creation and to have friendship with him. But they kind of messed it up, by falling for the bad guy. Since then, unfortunately, we are born without that perfect relationship with him. He eventually sent his Son to make the way for us again. It's our choice whether or not to believe, but if we do, then the relationship is restored. And in the end one day, all of this trouble and chaos and fear and sadness and ups and downs and countless tears - its all going to culminate in a new heaven and a new earth, the happiest ever after, EVER. I just kind of shrug when people say things like, "Christianity is merely a crutch." Because frankly, I think we need a crutch to get through this life, and that's mine. I absolutely believe it, but it is kind of foolish-sounding when you break it down. Kind of like fairy tales. Walt Disney World's fireworks show felt like that. The faith that everything will turn out alright in the end.
My good friend Lori G. (Hi Lori - I know you're there) sent me a link to these gorgeous photos taken by Annie Leibovitz for Disney. It's Hollywood meets Disney - two of my favorite things, as Lori put it. And they are just beautiful. I can't wait to see the rest of them. But I'm only giving you the link because I don't want to break computer etiquette and use photos for which I haven't been given permission. Instead I'll leave you with this picture. A shot of my boys as we were leaving just after the fireworks show that night. As you can see, adoration for the magic is completely genetic. They can hardly contain themselves.